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Roger Federer, Maria Sharapova, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams and the Music they listen

By Dhriti Pande    + Follow

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Keywords: Western & Southern Open | Roger-Federer | Rafael-Nadal | Novak-Djokovic | Andy-Murray | Serena-Williams | Maria-Sharapova
Roger Federer, Maria Sharapova, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams and the Music they listen
Music has healing power. It has the ability to take people out of themselves for a few hours - Elton John

The crowd cheers the players on as they make their way through the hallway and onto the court. The noise reverberating in their ears definitely puts a lot of pressure on the players who give it all to win the match. Imagine the situation they are in and what goes on in their minds. With such stress and tension on their shoulders they obviously need something to ease their nerves. They go through a similar scenario during practice sessions at home and whilst getting ready for a big game.

Nervousness and anxiety are common emotions that players feel before each match. In addition, while playing a match there are several set of emotions that players go through while they score a point or worse when they lose a point especially because of an unforced error. They let these emotions out by either addressing the higher power above, give exasperated looks to their team and coach, throw balls at the spectators or worse still, break racquets with their bare hands.

When they do this, they channel all their emotions into the anger and an inhibited feeling in their minds and lose focus of the point being played. For such situations, even the calmest of players, who fail to show their emotions and keep them bottled up on and off court, need ways to relax their minds, muscles and spirits and channelize their energy into what they do best, that is bringing the championship trophy home.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that listening to music is used regularly by athletes as a performance strategy. Results indicate that players consciously select music to elicit various emotional states. Listening to music before or during a practice session or match has resulted in the bringing forth of various emotional states including improved mood, increased arousal and visual and auditory imagery. Listening to music during exertional activities can bring about a semblance to the entire body with an attentional shift from internal (somatic) cues to external (music) cues.

Mind relaxation is very important to develop the tennis mental game, especially before every tennis match. Many players like to listen to a certain type of music whilst travelling to their venues or entering the courts. Relaxing music gives them a sense of lull that is better than making their minds waiver to other unwanted, trivial matters helping them focus better on their game. Nowadays music is even played while the players take a break in between the games.

Here is a list of a few tennis champions who exemplify the use of music to focus better:

Roger Federer loves listening to classical music and AC/DC, Michael Jackson, Lenny Kravitz, Gavin Rossdale, Metallica, Bocelli, Chopin, Jimi Hendrix, Mozart, Pink Floyd and The Who. “When I do weights, there’s usually a lot of music. But when I go for a run, I focus on the running. I grew up on trance, dance music, which usually works out well for fitness and then I got into Rock n’ Roll, Metallica, AC/DC, that kind of thing. I like to listen to it loud.”

Serena Williams likes to listen to Green Day, Beyonce or hip-hop before a match. “Sometimes I do dances before a match. I have a playlist. I listen to some songs that keep me motivated, keep me pepped up. One is a Green Day song; I also listen to some Beyonce. I listen to a lot of hip-hop.”

Andy Murray listens to John Mellencamp, Ed Sheeran, Pharell Williams’s Happy and Robin Thicke to get ‘in the zone’. Andy once told Newsbeat, “I would say 90% of the players listen to music before they go on. You know the locker room at a Grand Slam, there’s like 128 players in the beginning. It’s very, very loud with coaches and physical trainers and all that, so a lot of players just kinda get in the zone by listening to music.”

Recently Kim Sears revealed in an interview that one of their dogs was named after Rod Stewart’s ‘Maggie May’. “I always listen to music before I go on court, but for me it’s important that it’s fairly relaxing. With the nerves and excitement you don’t want to get the adrenaline flowing too much before you get on the court. It’s about focusing and conserving energy and making sure you are ready to go at the right time.”

Rafael Nadal likes the music of Mana and Alejandro Sanz. He loves to listen drum and bass and Spanish music. “I actually do listen to mostly Spanish music and particularly before the matches. That doesn’t mean that I only listen to Spanish music. I also have a lot of English music. Those classic rock or pop ones.

Novak Djokovic likes pop music. When he was young his favorite band was TAP 011, a Serbian band. His favorite Serbian singer was Toma Zdravkovic. “One of the biggest mentors in my life was my first tennis coach, Jelena Gencic (who died on 1st June, 2013 giving Djokovic a serious emotional blow). I remember as a kid she made me read poetry and we spent most of our time together listening to classical music from Bach and Mozart to Beethoven.” In the book,  ‘The Sporting Statesman – Novak Djokovic and The Rise of Serbia’ Nole refers to Gencic as his ‘tennis mother’ who taught him the fundamentals of tennis, etiquettes and introduced him to some of the classics.

Maria Sharapova likes listening to Madonna and is a big fan of her ‘Hard Candy’ album. She likes listening to all kinds of music specially Florence and the Machine and Coldplay, to name a few. She is a big fan of the song ‘Someone Like You’ by Adele. “The emotions of it are strong and powerful. Music is a part of my life all the time – on the plane, before matches, driving out to court.”

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